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Bridgestone contest challenges teen drivers

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A nationwide survey commissioned by Bridgestone Americas Inc. shows texting and other distracted driving behaviors are becoming socially unacceptable among teen drivers. The company is sponsoring a scholarship contest to encourage teens to drive responsibly.

The frequency of anti-texting campaigns over recent years has demonstrated the risks of distracted driving for young drivers. Taking those risks behind the wheel is becoming increasingly unacceptable among that group, according to the survey. Yet, social pressures fail to keep young drivers from engaging in those behaviors, especially when driving alone.

The survey polled more than 2,000 young drivers ages 16-21. Among the findings:

* 71% said that reading received texts and emails is unacceptable, yet 45% admitted to doing it themselves.

* Almost 80 percent believe sending texts and emails when driving is unacceptable, but 37 percent admitted to engaging in the behavior.

The fact that new drivers admit to driving distracted less frequently when in the company of others suggests that these behaviors are becoming socially frowned upon. Even so, the survey shows that teens continue to engage in unsafe behavior when driving:

* 95 percent of teens read texts and emails when on the road alone, while only 32 percent do so around friends and only seven percent when in the company of parents.

* More than 90 percent of young drivers admitted to posting on social media sites when alone, but only 29 percent post when with friends in the car and only five percent driving with their parents.

* Three-fourths of those surveyed admit to watching a video when alone in the car, 45 percent when with friends and seven percent when with their parents.

“With this many new drivers engaging in distracted driving behaviors, it’s clear we have to continue to educate on the serious consequences that activity can have. The Bridgestone Teens Drive Smart Video Contest is the ideal outlet to make a positive impact on their habits,” says Angela Patterson, manager, Teens Drive Smart Program. 

The contest, which is part of Bridgestone’s teen safety education initiatives, is accepting video entries until June 20. Students ages 16-21 create a short automotive safety-themed video that encourages their peers to make better decisions behind the wheel.

The top 10 videos are posted online for the public to vote on, and the three videos that receive the most votes win college scholarships: first place receives $25,000; second place receives $15,000 and third place receives $10,000. 

Please visit www.teensdrivesmart.com for survey highlights and official contest rules with complete entry, eligibility and prize details.

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